America ‘seems’ obsessed with race and ‘labels’. At least the government and their sycophants appear to want us to take allot of time thinking about it, feeling guilty over it and allowing them to throw it in our faces more than (I believe) it needs to be. I, personally, think it’s nothing more than an on-going attempt to keep folks separated or pigeon-holed into opposing groups (conservative, liberal, us, them, etc.), keep groups at each other’s throats rather than seeing that we’re, for the most part, all in the same boat, with the same aspirations and very much having the same goals. Perhaps it’s thought that if America can be broken up into ‘groups’ and those groups are ‘kept appart’ by creating friction between them or forced to compete for resources when no competition is warranted, then the groups will be so busy banging heads that they won’t pay much attention to the jerks that are creating the divisions. The Romans, back in the day, called the policy ‘Divide et impera’ – Devide and Rule!
I’m going to relate my ‘take’ on the subject of labeling which, I’m sure, some will claim is full of baloney or my perspective is “a white guy’s perspective” but say what you will, generally speaking, I believe this ‘labeling’ and ‘race’ obsession in the twenty first century is highly over rated in this country. Bill Murray once quipped in the 1981 film Stripes (http://movieclips.com/Qy2V-stripes-movie-were-mutants/), “we’re Americans”, “we’re mutts” and that’s the view I adhere to more than any fake tribal or ‘racial’ designation the feds and their mouthpieces want to perpetuate in order to get one group to feel oppressed by another or to feel guilt ridden over being. “Labeling” is just this kind of pigeon-holing in which totally manufactured ‘guilt’ is used to pitch one side against another.
A great example is this BS about “hispanics”; the feds classify these folks as some kind of race clearly worthy (it seems) of some level of preferential treatment. Even the yahoos that advocate for them have taken the name “La Raza” which translates to ‘the race’. I asked my friends in Madrid and Barcelona what ‘race’ they were and I’m sure it would surprise the DC crowd that they said they were “white” folks. I tried to explain how our government and others have seemingly created a race out of folks of Spanish decent and they just laughed. According to a piece on the DC based Pew Institute site expounding on the concept of or use of the terms Hispanic or Latino the authors relate: “Who’s Hispanic? Anyone who says they are. And nobody who says they aren’t.” which about sums it up. Hispanic is any darned group who can trace their roots to Spanish decent somewhere along the line.
By that standard I’m ‘hispanic’, since my Irish family name ‘originated’ from the few survivors of the Spanish Armada which, having botched an invasion of Britain in 1588, some 24 of the 110 ships went down in a storm off Ireland and swam ashore from Antrim in the north to Kerry in the south. Arriving in Ireland they bred with a few Irish lasses and my ancestors were the result. I see little difference between the Spanish conquest of Mexico beginning in 1519 and their kinsmen swimming ashore in Kerry in 1588, which means I’m a ‘Mick’ of Spanish decent commonly referred to as “the Black Irish”. By Washington’s criteria I’m hispanic or latino so where’s my special treatment, damn it? Why aren’t my ballots and driver’s test offered in Gaelic? My genealogical family hails from Ireland and Prussia so where’s my hyphenated designation? Does my Irish/Germanic background make me Celtic/Aryan or Celtic-American, Aryan-American or a European-American? Are the Celts or the Aryans a “race” as the government would have us believe the Spanish are? The reality is that my family, like yours, makes me what Murray described as “mutts” who, being here now for a generation or more, makes us American. Only a freaking idiot, desperately attempting to create dissension (‘Divide et impera’), would ‘invent’ a category of ‘race’ or attempt to hyphenate me.
So, back to the mythical hispanics and latinos who someone is making up a race out of. Spanish conquerors colonizing Central and South America, having an indian or ‘indigenous person’ in their family wood pile in the 1700s does not make a new ‘race’ rather, you’re “mutts” as Bill Murray said. Those claiming that background are (sorry) Spanish. Just because your ancestors washed up on the Caribbean coast doesn’t make you special or ‘different’ any more than my ancestors swimming ashore in Ireland so get over it because you’re white folks just like me. No special privilege or consideration is warranted or due.
Moving on, I can still (vaguely) remember when blacks were called ‘negros’ in my youth. According to Wikipedia the word “Negro” is used in the English-speaking world to refer to a person of black ancestry or appearance. Negro denotes “black” in the Spanish and Portuguese languages, derived from the Latin word, ‘niger’ meaning “black”. While there’s nothing particularly degrading in that word or description, because someone (back in the day) added a ‘g’ to the Latin word to describe people of color, it was perceived as racist and decided that to avoid the malicious connotation (the beginning of the political correctness era) they were called ‘colored people’ which, given the skin shade differential was probably more apt than either negro or black. That said, “colored” went to “black”. Now, of course, “black” and “colored” are out and the made up hyphenated term of “African-American” became ‘in’ in the 1980s.
The fact is, there’s no freaking reason on earth why the term “African-American” exists in the American lexicon. Unless you can show me some just arrived and naturalized tribe of Hottentots (a deprecated term for the Khoikhoi people of South Africa) living in Harlem or Detroit. Barring that, I regret to say THERE ARE NO “AFRICAN” AMERICANS here. The reality is that today’s “African-Americans” have no more connection to Africa than I do. Colored folks (blacks – whatever) in America are no more “African” than I’m European, Celtic or Aryan. They’re ‘Americans’ with a better tan than I have.
Oh, some might say, they were brought here as “slaves” and victimized on the evil southern plantations and, gee wiz, a civil war had to be fought to gain them their freedom, to which my response would be that even were that true, “that was over a century ago – get over it for god’s sake”! “Africans” were NOT uniquely dragged here as slaves nor was any war fought to free them and even if this were true (which it’s not) does that warrant a hyphenated label, special treatment in perpetuity, affirmative action or the expectation that after a century and a half, folks who had nothing to do with any of it are supposed to feel guilt ridden?
The FACT is the ‘war’ (call it the Civil War or, more aptly, the War of Northern Agression) wasn’t fought to free the slaves and folks who read history know that. Lincoln, the ‘hero’ of Abolition, stated in his inaugural address of March 4, 1861, that he had “no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” In a letter to Horace Greeley, editor of the influential New York Tribune, he stated “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it,“ The North’s military commander, General Ulysses S. Grant (later President of the US) wrote a letter to The Chicago Tribune in 1863, saying: “The sole object of this war is to restore the Union. Should I be convinced it has any other object, or that the government designs using its soldiers to execute the wishes of the Abolitionists, I pledge to you on my honor as a man and a soldier, I would resign my commission and carry my sword to the other side.” Contrary to myth, Lincoln DID NOT free all the slaves with his (1862) Emancipation Proclamation rather, he proclaimed the slaves in the Confederacy were ‘free’ while the slaves in the United States remained in bondage, remaining slaves until the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865.
Furthermore the blacks (Africans) weren’t the only slaves in this country and certainly not the first slaves to be dragged here in chains. Stepping beyond Grammar School propaganda (in other words, cracking a ‘real’ book rather than Facebook), one would see that colored folks were certainly not alone in their travails regarding forced labor. In the American slavery context, the colored folks were, in fact, last in line and NOT unique. In the work The Slaves That Time Forgot, John Martin points out “The Irish slave trade began when James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World. His Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold…” in the New World. Speaking of the fate of the Irish and it’s people, he goes on to say: “From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade.” The Irish (NOT the colored folks) were the “human cattle” of the period from the 17th and 18th centuries. Indeed, during this period African slave trade was only just beginning wherein the Africans (they WERE “African” back then) were far more expensive to purchase and were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts. So again, where’s my hyphenated (Celtic-American) name? Where are my preferential treatments and society’s set-asides for the Micks, the Harps, the Paddy’s, the Bog-jumpers and the WICs (White Irish Catholics) who were slaves here in America LONG before the Africans arrived?
Regardless of what the Brits and early American settlers did to the Irish or the settler’s progeny did to the Africans who arrived later, it was centuries ago. Get over it. I’m sure as hell not going to feel any guilt over how colored folks were treated prior to 1865 because neither I nor my family were there or even IN the United States. In fact ‘my’ particular family got here in 1897, a century after the majority of the colored folks did. So, looking around my country at ANY colored folks I know that they and their ancestors are MORE ‘AMERICAN’ THAN I AM. So, who’s more entitled to a hyphenated classification, them or me?
Quite simply, this “labeling” stuff and all the “guilt” that goes along with it is, in my view, bullshit. Government set-asides in business for ‘minority’ businesses would certainly help my winning contracts but I doubt the hispanic/latino crowd (or government) is going to appreciate my claim to be hispanic regardless of my roots to the Spanish Armada in 1588 because it’s just plain STUPID. I doubt the colored folks (or government) are going to appreciate my claim to be “African-American” just because it’s been categorically proven by anthropologists that anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) ALL evolved in North or East Africa and then migrated out of Africa probably because it’s STUPID. Both claims, on my part, might be said to be either a few centuries or a few million years stale.
If my concocted claim to be hispanic (‘special’) is “stale” due to the time lapse from 1588 to now (over four centuries), then so is any “African” claim stale unless the passage of ‘time’ means nothing. If time doesn’t matter then the American Indians (yeah, the Mayans and Aztecs too) need to revise their title from ‘American Indians’ to Asian-Indians or American-Asians because they got here from there 15-25 thousand years ago from Asia. Perhaps the hispanics/latinos need to be reclassified as ‘Spasians’?
Rather than let the government and their shills try to convince folks to group themselves into artificial tribal sub-groups to compete for hand-outs, guilt related sympathy or special accommodation and privilege over the other groups just because one gang of Homo-Erectus, leaving Africa turned left, another turned right and another went straight as they left the African continent. No one pays my rent & utilities because my ancestors were brutalized as slaves in the 17th century America. No one feeds or educates me or my kid because my ancestors came ashore from a Spanish ship in the 1500s. No one deposits funds to my ATM card every month, gives me preferential treatment in the business and job market or provides me a free cell phone because 200 million years ago my people left the African continent and turned left.
We all need to put these make-believe hyphenated labels, made up categories of humanity and the expectation that “special treatment” should be afforded one group over another aside and start taking responsibility for our existence. Taking ‘responsibility’ for our lives and the well-being of our families gains people respect. To not do so and to separate one’s self from those who do, through government inspired ‘differences’ and claims of entitlement based on the woes of one’s forefathers, results in distrust and the perception that those seeking such advantage are indeed incapable of taking care of their own. It is self fulfilling. Don’t demand equality in this world if you preface that claim by complaining you need ‘special’ dispensation from others. In other words, forget “race” or “labels” and get off your ass.
With regard to the indigenous Spanish people fleeing Central and South America, I hate to be cruel but we don’t owe you a free-ride existence because where you came from is run by nitwits and living there sucks. Go home and fix your country. If need be put the current rulers against the wall or string them up and start over. With regard to the colored, black or ‘people’ who, centuries ago came from Africa to America, this is your country not Africa. It’s not the rest of us that somehow did this to you or your ancestors. In fact, your ancestors were sold to Europeans by the African elites of the time. THEY sent your ancestors into bondage.
We need to stop accepting these fake ‘labels’ foisted on us by an oligarchy who’s goal is to keep folks divided and ‘rule’ over the splinter groups. We need to stop accepting these ‘labels’ that infer that one group of people should be anointed with ‘victim status’ such that we pander to them in perpetuity in ways such as not requiring them to learn or use our language while they live here or the many other preferential benefits that actually create division rather than integration into society as a whole. We sure as hell need to stop accepting that we (in the 21st century) need to assume some measure of guilt over what was done to others, by others, hundreds of years ago. These are unfounded accusations and are divisive. Simple ‘respect’ is required for society to function and respect is NOT granted. Respect is earned and requires that, at one point or another, all folks grow up and get their shit together rather than allow others (however temporarily benevolent) to provide for them. No one is ‘entitled’ to more than they earn.
For any that still want to claim America is still some hotbed of ‘discrimination’ I might simply point out that this country has a ‘black’ President (such that he is) and a ‘black’ Attorney General, not to mention quite a few black General’s within the US military and you can’t get more ‘establishment’ than that. The Army’s first colored General was Benjamin Davis, Sr who became Commanding General of 4th Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division in January 1941. Seventy five plus years ago, people. His son (Jr.) was an Air Force, four star General. The number of black or “African-American” in the federal government’s employ is 18 percent which is 5 percent higher than our population demographic so let’s put to bed the myth that ‘the powers that be’ are discriminating against blacks.
Just my opinion of course but, since I’m (apparently) a hispanic/African-American, Irish-German lad, who’s ancestors, in some dark past, suffered under the boot of the ‘oppressor class’, my opinion should be afforded more weight and consideration than anyone else’s because I’m ‘entitled’ and ance upon a time,… Yeah, right.
“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”